The entire coast is 360 miles long; the northern half is more developed and popular with weekenders from Portland. Highway 101 runs the length of it, and cliffside twists and scenic turnoffs make for slow going. Fine by everyone, it seems: the pace is a big part of what they're here for. Although I encountered few crowds last August, hotels will tell you to book well in advance for summer stays.
Inns and Hotels
Stephanie Inn 2740 S. Pacific, Cannon Beach; 800/633-3466 or 503/436-2221, fax 503/436-9711; doubles $149-$399, including breakfast; no children under 12. The upper floors are more private, but nothing beats walking to the beach from your patio.
Inn at Manzanita 67 Laneda Ave., Manzanita; 503/368-6754; doubles $100-$145; no children under 16. Request an ocean-view room in the main inn. The two suites have kitchens.
Salishan Lodge 7760 Hwy. 101 N., Gleneden Beach; 888/725-4742 or 541/764-2371; doubles $210-$290. Golfers, big groups, and families, this is your place.
Channel House 35 Ellingson St., Depoe Bay; 800/447-2140 or 541/765-2140, fax 541/765-2191; doubles $150-$225, including breakfast; no children under 12. Suite 5, with kitchen and terrace over the water, is best.
Cliff House 1450 Adahi Rd., Yaquina John Point, Waldport; 541/563-2506, fax 541/563-4393; doubles $120-$245, including breakfast; no children under 12. An intimate B&B, not for minimalists, but great for view-seekers.
Also Keep in Mind Sylvia Beach Hotel 267 N.W. Cliff St., Newport; 541/265-5428; doubles $69-$152, including breakfast. Attention bibliophiles: each of the 20 rooms in this landmark house is decorated in honor of an author. The Poe room has a pendulum above the bed.
Heceta Head Light Station Bed & Breakfast 92072 Hwy. 101 S., Yachats; 541/547-3696; doubles $115-$145, including big breakfast. Next to the brightest lighthouse on the coast (pack an eye mask) is an 1894 keeper's house, now a smart, simple three-room inn with period furniture.
Café de la Mer 1287 S. Hemlock St., Cannon Beach; 503/436-1179; dinner for two $40. A chic seafood spot in a blue house.
Bistro 263 N. Hemlock St., Cannon Beach; 503/436-2661; dinner for two $50. Fresh fish served in a cottage with a pretty courtyard.
Blue Sky Café 154 Laneda Ave., Manzanita; 503/368-5712; dinner for two $50. Healthy and creative pan-Pacific cuisine, with preparations accented by ginger, cilantro, salsas, and such.
Jarboe's in Manzanita 137 Laneda Ave., Manzanita; 503/368-5113; dinner for two $35. Closed during my visit, but said to be one of the coast's standouts.
Bay House 5911 S.W. Hwy. 101, Lincoln City; 541/996-3222; dinner for two $60. A sophisticated menu (I recommend the salmon carpaccio) and stunning views.
Canyon Way Restaurant & Bookstore 1216 S.W. Canyon Way, Newport; 541/265-8319; dinner for two $40. Walk through the bookstore to a surprisingly formal dining room, serving prawns Provençale, Yaquina Bay oysters, crab cakes, and good Oregon wines.
Oregon Handbook by Stuart Warren and Ted Long Ishikawa (Moon Travel Handbooks)—Comprehensive, readable guide, with 120 pages devoted to the coast.
An Oregon Message by William Stafford (Harper & Row)—Contemplative poems by the state's former poet laureate and National Book Award winner.
Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand by Ursula K. Le Guin (HarperCollins)—The renowned science fiction writer and Oregonian summons the coast in this collection of interconnected stories. Worth tracking down.
On the Web
Oregon Coast—You Have Caught the Wave! (www.oregoncoast.com)—Covers the whole 360-mile stretch, with a focus on parks, forests, and other natural areas. Also has a useful calendar of events and links to additional Oregon pages.
A whale-watching or deep-sea fishing trip offered by one of the charter outfits in Depoe Bay. The halibut from these waters can dwarf a five-year-old.